Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Night

Shabbat – the first Friday in January and every other Friday in the year, most secular Jews in the USA do not light candles. They do not like to remember how in childhood they may have had at least one year of compusory attendance at services if they were brought up in the Reform tradition (like me). If they were brought up Orthodox what they are avoiding is 24 hours of not driving, not turning on lights, not running hot water (because it would make the flame go on in the water heater) and all kinds of other observances. A few secular Jews have created non-religious congregations where (as one person put it) they gather on Saturday morning to NOT pray and NOT read the Torah. But mostly it's a non-event.

BUT in Israel, secular Jews have made a Friday night dinner a time when families and friends gather for a meal. They have made it a secular holiday, in keeping with their secular Jewish state. (This may be changing, but I'm not sure what the eventual result will be.)

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